Not so long ago, Ulises Ventura worked as a barista for the University District Bookstore while he went through Hopeworks’ training program. Thanks to some connections from Hopeworks, Ulises will soon begin a $60K-a-year permanent job with Slalom, an international business and technology consulting firm.
“You’d think the news would have hit me with a wave of euphoria,” said Ulises. “Surprisingly, it is hitting me with this wave of resolution. This is the amount of money I need to take on the responsibility for doing other things. For instance, I plan to move out by the end of the year. I want to have that responsibility for myself.”
Ulises likely caught the eye of Slalom because he is so passionate about learning. A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, he is primarily self-taught. He has such a curious nature that when he was working as a barista at the bookstore, he found himself engaging in a conversation with a friend about the merits of different kinds of coffee grinds. One of the things he learned is that the lower the roast, the higher the caffeine content. Ulises loves looking at things in depth like that. “It’s never just a surface level thing for me when you’re talking about the nitty gritty of things. Even simple things have so much complexity. Things you don’t pay attention to have so much depth to them.” In short, Ulises is a systems thinker, who appreciates discovering how even the smallest details affect the whole.
And that makes him a great fit for Slalom, which uses data and trends to determine the next best moves for its clients. Slalom is a place where consultants ask the kind of questions Ulises likes to puzzle over. Ulises said that Slalom’s head of information architecture gave him the following example: “He said, ‘If I told you that households that purchased more ice cream are likely to get robbed, what would you attribute it to?’ I didn’t know, so I asked him why. He told me that is true because there are more robberies in hotter climates than colder climates. That fascinated me.”
When Ulises starts Slalom, he will enter an intensive training program designed for its new senior consultants. “I’ll get to work on projects and play around with the assignment somebody gives me.” Ulises will undergo the training virtually, but will ultimately work onsite in Slalom’s office.
He will also have the opportunity to shadow employees outside of the training, something he genuinely appreciates. “That’s really good for me,” Ulises enthuses. “I get to see how people work. [Slalom] has a variety of fields, and I am interested in a lot of them, such as data utilization and data architecture.”
Given his relentless curiosity, his humility, and the joy he takes in working, Ulises is likely to go far. He says he is grateful to Hopeworks for giving him “the ability to recognize my worth.” In addition, he says, “Hopeworks gives you the tools to succeed. You just have to hold onto them and use them.”